AQUAMARINE & QUARTZ

18706

Locality

Nyet-Bruk, Braldu Valley, Skardu District, Baltistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Dimensions (H x W x D)

12.5 x 14 x 11 cm

Weight

1.209 kg

Description & Provenance

Aquamarine is a blue variety of beryl that has long been prized as a precious stone and has been utilized in jewelry for thousands of years by numerous ancient civilizations including the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. It derives its name from the Roman term for “water of the sea” and was believed to be a treasure of the mermaids that would protect sailors during their journeys. Fine aquamarine specimens are primarily recovered from mines in Pakistan and Brazil. Although Brazil often produces the highest quality aquamarine crystals, specimens tend to be aesthetically limited due to the fact they are almost always single crystals that have detached from their matrices (host rock). Although Pakistani specimens are more likely to come with some degree of matrix, they are still tremendously difficult to recover.

The aquamarines of Nyet-Bruk are found within pegmatite sheets along steep and sheer mountain faces at incredibly high altitudes. Due to treacherous weather conditions, mining is only possible during two to three months out of the year. It is only once the weather is warm enough that the snow melts, exposing the bare rockface of the mountainsides. Only then is it possible for the miners to scale the lofty heights and settle into tiny mining camps for the season. Despite the arduous challenges, and the incredibly slim odds of unearthing a beautiful specimen, the appeal of the occasional incredible find continues to spur the hunt for distinctive and beautiful specimens.

This is an exceptional aquamarine from Nyet-Bruk, Pakistan that was recovered in 2019 from the “Kashmir King Pocket.” This specimen exemplifies what makes specimens from this region so exceptional. The lustrous, high-quality aquamarine crystals exhibit an especially vivid version of the coveted sky-blue tone that is so sought after by collectors. They also have excellent form, distinguished by distinct edges, smooth glassy faces, and window-like translucency. The primary crystal in particular has an immaculate hexagonal form, all topped with a perfectly smooth, flat termination. The aquamarine crystals formed upon a matrix of translucent quartz crystals, and a little bit of opaque albite with a stark-white coloration. The combination of three different mineral species adds to the overall sculptural form and artistic composition, rarifying this specimen even more, making for an impactful display of the coveted species.

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